Information from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission shows that the nation’s two largest private prison companies donated more than $250,000 to elected officials over the last three years.
AllOnGeorgia routinely examines the influence private prison companies have on Georgia’s legislators. The most recent examination looks at reports filed between January 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020.
The GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) both have automatically renewing contracts with the State of Georgia that are not negotiated annually and have been in place for over two decades. The contracts require that the four facilities under private supervision maintain a certain occupancy rate or the state faces a penalty.
Donations Still Cross Party Lines
The most notable donation was the $2,500 to Rep. Terry England who requested the audit in 2018 which revealed that private prison facilities are not cheaper per inmate.
Governor Brian Kemp also received a total of $18,100 in donations from CoreCivic in September 2019 – $7,000 for the 2022 Primary Election, $7,000 for the 2022 General Election, and $4,100 for the Run-off – while the GEO Group sent $7,000 for the 2022 primary, bringing his grand total to $25,100.
The Georgia Republican Party landed a $10,000 donation from the company in March 2019 and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan pulled in $5,000 from The GEO Group over the last year.
Private Prison Group
|Rep. Barry Fleming||Chair – Judiciary Cmte||The GEO Group||$500||01/07/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Bill Hitchens||Chair Public Safety Committee||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/07/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Bob Trammell||Minority Leader||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Democrat|
|Rep. Brett Harrell||Chair – Ways & Means Cmte||The GEO Group||$1,000||09/24/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Brian Prince||The GEO Group||$500||12/19/2019||Democrat|
|Rep. David Ralston||Speaker of the House||CoreCivic||$2,500||11/15/2019||Republican|
|Rep. David Ralston||Speaker of the House||The GEO Group||$2,500||01/11/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Emory Dunahoo||The GEO Group||$500||01/09/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Gerald Greene||Chair – State Properties Cmte||$500||12/26/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Greg Morris||Chair Banks & Banking Committee||CoreCivic||$500||01/02/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Jan Jones||Speaker Pro Tem||CoreCivic||$500||11/08/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Jan Jones||Speaker Pro Tem||The GEO Group||$1,000||04/24/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Jan Jones||Speaker Pro Tem||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Republican|
|Rep. John Corbett||Chair – Motor Vehicles||The GEO Group||$500||01/12/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Jon Burns||Majority Leader||CoreCivic||$1,500||01/12/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Jon Burns||Majority Leader||CoreCivic||$1,300||11/20/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Jon Burns||Majority Leader||CoreCivic||$1,200||11/20/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Jon Burns||Majority Leader||The GEO Group||$1,000||11/12/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Karen Bennett||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Democrat|
|Rep. Karen Bennett||The GEO Group||$1,000||5/16/2019||Democrat|
|Rep. Matt Hatchett||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/07/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Micah Gravely||Vice Chair – House GOP Caucus||CoreCivic||$500||01/11/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Rick Williams||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/16/2020||Republican|
|Rep. Terry England||Chair Appropriations Committee||CoreCivic||$2,500||11/07/2019||Republican|
|Rep. Terry Rogers||Governor’s Floor Leader||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Blake Tillery||CoreCivic||$2,500||11/20/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Blake Tillery||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/06/2020||Republican|
|Sen. Butch Miller||Senate President Pro Tem||The GEO Group||$2,500||10/15/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Freddie Powell Sim||CoreCivic||$500||09/20/2019||Democrat|
|Sen. Gail Davenport||the GEO Group||$1,000||12/16/2019||Democrat|
|Sen. Jack Hill||Chair Appropriations Committee||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/08/2020||Republican|
|Sen. Jesse Stone||Chair – Judiciary||CoreCivic||$1,500||11/06/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Jesse Stone||Chair – Judiciary||CoreCivic||$1,000||01/12/2019||Republican|
|Sen. John Albers||Chair – Public Safety||The GEO Group||$1,000||01/09/2020||Republican|
|Sen. Lester Jackson||Chair – Urban Affairs Cmte||The GEO Group||$1,000||12/17/2019||Democrat|
|Sen. Mike Dugan||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Steve Gooch||Chair Transportation Committee||The GEO Group||$1,000||10/01/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Tyler Harper||Chair – Nat. Resources Cmt||CoreCivic||$500||05/06/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Tyler Harper||Chair – Nat. Resources Cmt||CoreCivic||$1,500||11/22/2019||Republican|
|Sen. Valencia Seay||the GEO Group||$1,000||10/16/2019||Democrat|
|Sen. William Ligon||Chair – Banks & Banking||The GEO Group||$500||01/09/2020||Republican|
Donations since January 1, 2019:
|Donations to Govenor||$25,100|
|Donations to Lt. Governor||$5,000|
|Ga Republican Party||$10,000|
The 2019 donations follow the filing of House Bill 403, which would eliminate private contracts for detention facilities in Georgia – including jails and prisons alike. The measure was filed by State Representatives Scott Holcomb, Carl Gilliard, Gregg Kennard, Miriam Paris, Carolyn Hugley, and Bee Nguyen.
Specifically, the definition of detention center would include “prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, parole revocation centers, long-term and short-term youth detention centers, boot camps, and probation detention centers” that are operated by the Georgia Department of Corrections. It would not cover federal facilities in Georgia.
The language of the bill does not cancel any current contracts in place but would bar the renewal of any contracts once they expire.
In April 2018, the Corrections Accountability Project released the names of over 3,100 corporations—including over 2,500 privately traded companies—that profit from the United States prison system. (That report is here) The information detailed above only includes that of the two largest companies in the nation and the two with active contracts with the state of Georgia.